Thursday, 2 February 2012

'Monstrous' asteroid, 433 Eros, flies by Earth

For all those of you who spent yesterday, thinking that it is just like any other day, here's something that should jolt you out of it. A report in Mail Online confirms that, yesterday an asteriod came real close, than it has in 37 years and whizzed past Earth. Before you dismiss the thought, why not tell you a bit about 433 Eros. This asteriod is monstrous, in the real sense of the term. Imagine the size of London, 400 times over, and you will have a fair idea of the size of 433 Eros. 433 Eros was 16.6million miles away from Earth. Additionally, it has also been revealed that 433 Eros asteroid orbits the Sun every 642.9 days and rotates once every five hours and 16 minutes. If you miss this seeing it this time around, you would want to know that it is only in 2056 that it will come next.
Eros 433 (Image source: )
Eros 433 (Image source: NASA/JPL/JHUAPL)

Now that all's safe here on Earth, one may want to catch a glimpse of this monstrous asteroid. Point your telescopes to constellations Leo and Hydra, and if you're lucky, you may just spot it, while it is still there till February 10. 433 Eros was discovered in 1898 by Gustav Witt in Germany and Auguste Charlois in France. This isn't the first time that such giant asteroids have flown past. Reportedly, last week, a smaller, bus-sized asteroid brushed past Earth. Although, Earth has been lucky on several ocassions and has escaped, it still is a matter of concern. The European Union, therefore have funded a project, called NEOShield project, which will be on the look-out for ways to protect earth from the space rocks, only this will take some 3 more years to complete. 

Researchers are, at the moment contemplating on what could possibly be an effective way to tackle this. Ideas ranging from using projectiles or explosives to repel asteroids or use gravity to change its course are being discussed. They, however believe that an asteroid can never get through the atmosphere intact, and hence there wasn't much to worry about. 

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